Benito Owusu-Bio, Chairman of the Apiate Reconstruction Implementation Committee, has reacted to former President John Dramani Mahama's comments regarding the payment of compensation to the victims of the Apiate disaster.
Whiles welcoming John Mahama's recommendation, Owusu-Bio indicated in a statement copied to GhanaWeb, that "the preoccupation of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources since the incident has been to provide emergency relief to support victims, investigate the matter and apply the necessary sanctions to prevent its reoccurrence, and to ultimately reconstruct the community to give the victims the dignity of life they deserve.
"The Ministry, working with relevant agencies, provided emergency relief to the victims, and has now moved them from the tents which initially housed them to a temporary accommodation pending the reconstruction of the community.
"The medical bills of all the injured are being borne by Government. The incident has been investigated, leading to a review of the entire health and safety standards in the mining industry. The reconstruction of the community is also progressing steadily, with the selection of contractors and mobilisation to site."
Benito Owusu-Bio, who is also, the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, further stated that, legally, it is not for the government to compensate victims of the incident.
"The Ministry is, nonetheless, committed, through the Appiatse Support Fund, to raise enough funds to reconstruct the community and support the victims of the incident transparently and with the highest standards of integrity. As the Committee has reiterated on countless occasions, all these measures are being taken without prejudice to the right of any person to seek any lawful remedy, including the payment of compensation.
"The Appiatse incident was very tragic, and we call on all to approach it devoid of any partisan politics. The Committee will continue to work with the Ministry as well as the chiefs and people of the community to ensure the speedy completion of the reconstruction of the community.
"We wish to use this opportunity to call on the general public to continue to donate to the Appiatse Support Fund, to help raise enough funds to complete the reconstruction and support the community," the statement concluded.
What John Mahama said about Appiatse compensation.
Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged President Nana Akufo-Addo to immediately work towards compensating victims of the Appiatse explosion disaster who have lost their livelihoods due to the disaster.
“Listening to the representative of the victims of the disaster speak for their colleagues, it is clear that their livelihoods now is critical. They have lost everything, so the government must look at compensating those who lost relatives and properties. It is my belief that if the President insists on this concern of compensation now, it will definitely be done.”
“Government must not wait for Appiatse explosion disaster victims to go to court for redress before the government pays the compensation. So, I will urge the President and the government officials to listen to the concerns of the Appiatse victims. As much as they appreciate the government for the disaster response so far, their continued livelihoods are also important,“ the former President said at Appiatse while interacting with victims after he donated assorted food items, mattresses and GH¢5,000 to the Appiatse Relief Committee.